Tuesday, 13 May 2008

VW Golf

The latest TV ad for the Volkswagen Golf very effectively emphasises the car's mundaneness as it's chief selling point. CLUNK. This is a car which is durable. CLUNK. Day in, day out, this is a car which will reliably get you where you're going. CLUNK. The door reassuringly clunks shut time after time. CLUNK. Come rain, sleet and shine, around streets, towns and autobahns. CLUNK.

Recently my normally reliable Golf developed a fault. I reported the story here . Incidentally my web based diagnosis of the problem was wrong , so thank goodness I drove my broken car to a main VW dealer, not onto the interweb.

The terrible creaking noise from the steering was due to a broken front coil (part of the suspension). The dealer told me this was a rare fault on any golf - let alone one with only 32,000 miles on the clock. They suggested I write to VW and see if they would help with the cost of the repair (about £250 altogether, £70 for the part). So I did.

This week VW UK wrote back. They said:

"At Volkswagen, we are proud of our reputation for reliability and high build quality and therefore I can appreciate your disappointment at having to have this repair carried out on a vehicle with a low mileage."

There's more about VW's fantastic after-sales support too!

"We look to support customers with any unforeseen repair costs outside the terms of the vehicle warranty, however parameters are in place to ensure that deserving customers receive adequate assistance. Therefore we take into consideration various factors which include the age, mileage, servicing and the nature of the fault."

My golf has been serviced by a VW main agent since new, and it has a very low mileage (perhaps half the average). The dealer has told me the fault is unusual. So the signs look good - but I already know the answer is not good. There is no cheque attached to this slender letter. So I skim over the words where they tell me no manufacturing fault was found in the failed part and arrive at their conclusion:

"As the vehicle is now approaching seven years of age Volkswagen cannot accept responsibility for any necessary repair work."

"I understand that this is not the outcome you were hoping for, however, I trust that you can understand the reasons behind my decision"

So, aged 6, my VW Golf is simply too old to be reliable. CLUNK.

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